Pacific Rim poster art suit Charlie Hunnam filmOA

Pacific Rim

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filmOA | review

text Sam Thorne

Guillermo Del Toro is a director known for artist flights of fancy, in addition to the occasional mainstream action film. In his new film Pacific Rim it’s certainly an amalgamation of those elements. The core idea is it’s an homage to the nature of Japanese monster fiction, or ‘Kaiju.’ In addition it also features the ideas of giant robots, mechas, or Jaegars. It draws heavily from a range of genre texts, such as the To Ho monster films, animation serial ‘Super Sentai,’ the mobile suit Gundam series and many more. The question is: would this kind of formula work on an epic big budget scale away from the niche audiences of b-movies and manage to entertain Western audiences?

In the year 2013 a tectonic plate shifting causes a rift to appear that links to another dimension. Giant destructive monsters in true Godzilla fashion begin to emerge from this portal, commonly referred to as Kaiju. As a defense measure, giant robots known as Jaegars are produced by the world’s military forces in order to combat the beasts. For the first few years the task is easy, with the advanced technology easily taking care of the Kaiju with advanced battle tactics and hardened pilots. However, the Kaiju begin to evolve and adapt, proving a much harder challenge for earth’s defense forces. Hardened commander and former Jaegar pilot Stacker Pentecost (Idric Elba) hatches a plan to end the Kaiju war. But will Raliegh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) be able to co-exist as pilots and survive the final battle?

On a positive note Pacific Rim is probably the most visually pleasing and aesthetically stunning film I’ve ever seen. The Jaegars and their construction, the weaponry, the Kaiju in all of their horrific glory are all pretty much flawless in their design. Quite frankly, the aesthetics and special effects alone are truly masterful and blow away any notion of a visual sci-fi spectacle before it. However, in it’s true homage to the monster b-movie, the dialogue as you’d expect is incredibly cheesy, cliche’d and wooden. Not in a bad way of course, it’s clearly written to be cheesy and unrealistic, like its b-movie and traditionally badly translated ancestors in its genre. At points the dialogue is cringe-worthy and can distract, but if you allow yourself to be absorbed in the glorious action of a giant robot punching a shark monster in the face, well, Pacific Rim is for you.

I smell an Academy Award for Special Effects in Pacific Rim’s future, because there’s nothing really like it. Truly sublime. The use of lesser known actors was interesting. Rinko Kikuchi, and Idris Elba pulled some dramatic weight in their daughter/father relationship. Pacific Rim is a niche experience admittedly and won’t appeal to some people, but generally I’d say Pacific Rim will stand out as one of the most interesting films of the year. filmOA end logo

Pacific Rim is out now (US). + more dates

Pacific Rim


filmOA | score



Special Effects








review score 78 half circle


worth the popcorn

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